[EM] RE : Re: Are proposed methods asymptotically aproaching some limit of utility?

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Tue Mar 13 12:27:50 PDT 2007

At 03:03 AM 3/13/2007, Kevin Venzke wrote:
>--- Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <abd at lomaxdesign.com> a écrit :
> > I used to think that I understood what "strategic" voting in Range
> > was, i.e., say I prefer A>B>C. And, say, I would rate them 1, 0.5,
> > and 0 respectively. Ah, but I really want A to win. So I rate B, not
> > at 0.5, but at 0.
>I guess this example shows you didn't understand it. "I really want A to
>win" isn't a strategic consideration. It's a statement of sincere
>preference that clearly contradicts what you had just said about the
>sincere preferences.

And I guess this means you didn't understand what 
I was saying. I was exposing that very contradiction. And I went on to explain:

> > Seemed simple, I was "exaggerating."
> >
> > But wait! If I vote this way, it must be that I prefer A to B with
> > more strength than I prefer B to C. So the conditions of the problem
> > are contradictory.

What I'm saying is that "I really want A to win" 
is a sincere preference that is expressed by 
bullet voting for A, and zero-rating B. If I 
don't care so much, but I prefer A over all 
others, I can rate A at max and B at some 
intermediate rating. It all depends on how much I care.

The problem is that we have this idea of 
exaggeration. But why would one exaggerate? 
*Because they care.* In other words, it is not an exaggeration.

>  I assumed that the preference strength was equal,
> > and thus the ratings would be equally spaced. But then I essentially
> > assumed that they were *not* equal, because by downrating B to zero I
> > was equating B and C, risking victory by C, my least favorite.
>This example is unfortunate since with candidates with an average
>utility of .5, and no information on any candidates' viability, it doesn't
>matter strategically how you rate a candidate worth .5.

I think that we get confused by utility 
consideration. Range Voting is a voting method 
that voters will use to maximize their expected 
outcome from the election. Utilities are slippery 
things. We think of utilities, first, in a 
vacuum, to come up with supposedly "sincere" 
ratings. But, in fact, choices are made in 
contexts. It is completely artificial to separate 
them out. That Adolf Hitler enters the contest 
and seems to have a chance of winning will quite 
likely alter our "sincere" ratings. And these new ratings are equally sincere.

Range uses *relative* utility, that is, the 
utility of candidates relative to the others, and 
in the existing social context.

>Let's say B is only worth .4. Now strategically you should exaggerate
>and rate B 0. That's because on a single puny vote, it's inefficient to
>try to save some voting power to help B beat C when the same power could
>be helping A beat B for a greater improvement.
>You could also need to rate B as 0 if you do not believe that your last
>choice C has a good chance of winning. This is because spending your
>voting power to help B beat C is relatively pointless if C isn't going
>to win. Again, you have one puny vote; it's different if yours is the only
>Kevin Venzke
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